Dr. Vikki Petersen and Vitamin D

I want to share this video with you because there is some new research that Dr. Petersen discusses that might help someone struggling with Vitamin D Deficiency.

I decided to take a closer look at the vitamin supplements that we use:

This is the Liquid Multivitamin that I take by Country Life. From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

The Vitamin A in this multivitamin, is sourced 50% from Retinyl Palmitate (the pre-formed version of Vitamin A), and 50% Beta Carotene.  Click here for a great article on The World’s Healthiest Foods website re: Beta Carotene.

I also take a calcium supplement by Country Life, called Target Mins,  From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

This is the D3 Supplement that I take during the winter, also by Country Life.  From the website:

Does Not Contain: Yeast, wheat, soy, gluten, milk, starch, artificial colors, artificial flavors or artificial sweeteners.

Sam and Luke really like the flavor of the Animal Parade multivitamins by Nature’s Plus.  The best price I have found is on Amazon (180 vitamins for $14.51 with free shipping if you have Amazon Prime).  Be sure to talk with your child’s pediatrician before beginning a supplement program.

Click here for a a better view of the Supplement Facts.  The Vitamin A is sourced from Beta Carotene, so that is good but the Vitamin D in this product is ergocalciferol, or D2 (the less desirable form of Vitamin D).

I have been giving my boys Cod Liver Oil since they were under 1 year of age!  I am really glad I found Dr. Petersen’s video, since the cod liver oil competes with vitamin D absorption.  I will be looking for another DHA supplement for them right way.

This is the Vitamin D3 supplement that I give my boys during the winter, when they are not outside much getting their Vitamin D the natural way, from the sun.  I also buy this on Amazon.

I also want to suggest the following article on The World’s Healthiest Foods website: Vitamin D.  The article covers the role/benefits of Vitamin D, food sources of Vitamin D, and it also covers Deficiency and Toxicity symptoms.

Back in September, 2009; I had my doctor test my vitamin levels.  My Vitamin D3 came back at a “sufficient level” of 79.  Per my lab, the ranges are as follows:

Insufficiency:  < 20 ng/mL

Hypovitaminosis D:  20 – 30 ng/mL

Sufficiency: 40 – 100 ng/mL

Toxicity: Greater than 100 ng/mL

I actually need to watch how much Vitamin D supplementation I take (I do not supplement at all during the warm weather months because I live in a place with an abundance of sunshine and I spend a lot of time outdoors.  It is very important to talk to your health care provider about your specific needs.

Certain supplements can also affect your medications, which is another reason you should talk to your health care provider BEFORE beginning a vitamin/supplement program!  Case in point, calcium can affect how my body absorbs my thyroid replacement hormone so I need to space them out by at least 4 hours.

Lastly, I just ordered the following video and thought others might be interested too.  If the preview interests you, the full version can be ordered here, on the HealthNow website.

PLEASE NOTE: I am NOT a paid affiliate for any of these products.  I just want to share the information.

JASON Kids Only! Gluten Free Toothpaste

A recent funny post that Kim made over at Gluten-Free Is Life, titled “True Blogger Confessions,” got me to thinking about GF dental products, so I wanted to share the brand of toothpaste that I buy for my boys.  JASON Kids Only! is an all-natural line of products that are specifically designed for children. The following is some information from the JASON Everyday Natural Care website:

Safe and natural ingredients are crucial to a child’s health and wellness. Children’s skin is approximately 30% thinner than adults so pure and effective natural ingredients become ever more important. JASON Kids Only! are free of harsh chemicals and contain an abundance of natural essential oils and extracts to protect, hydrate and soothe. Delicious natural fruity flavors and fragrances to make bathing time fun! Easy to use packaging. Ten product range to cover a child from head to toe.

  • Kids Only! is Paraben and Sulfate Free
  • Kids Only! is Wheat and Gluten Free
  • Kids Only! is Mineral Oil, Lanolin and Petrolatum Free
  • Kids Only! is Fluoride and Glycol Free
  • Kids Only! is Tear and Phthalate Free

Sam and Luke love the taste of the Strawberry Toothpaste.  I love the fact that “Wheat and Gluten Free” are written right on the front of the tube! 😀

Ingredient Label for the Strawberry Toothpaste

JASON has an entire line of kid products that include shampoo, conditioner, bath gels, hand soap and toothpaste, all gluten-free!  Click here for a store locator in your area.  Know where I buy mine?  Toys R’ Us!

A couple of other quick things that you might be interested in:

In case you did not get to see the insert on Celiac Disease in the May 7th copy of the USA Today, you can read it in full here. For more great celiac awareness information, visit the American Celiac Disease Alliance.

Also, if you have a kiddo that loves pancakes, be sure to check out the NordicWare Pancake Pan Giveaway that Alta of Tasty Eats At Home is doing! Alta also made a GREAT post on Celiac and Gluten Intolerance Awareness yesterday.  Alta offered quite a few links to some wonderful resources that you may find as helpful as I have!  There are two in particular she linked to, that I want to draw your attention to (especially if you are new to the gluten-free lifestyle).  One is Shirley Braden’s (of Gluten-Free Easily) list of “50+ Things You Can Eat Today.” The other is by Karina Allrich (of Gluten Free Goddess) and it is called “Gluten-Free ABC’s for Going G-Free.”  Be sure to check out those links over at Tasty Eats At Home, and while you are there…  tempt yourself with these delectable GF Brownie Bites that Alta made (these would be great to make for Mother’s Day tomorrow!).  I mean really, with treats like that, who wouldn’t want to be gluten-free!? 🙂

Looking for more gluten-free Mother’s Day Inspiration?

Check out:

Amy’s Fresh Fruit Tart with Pastry Cream over at Simply Sugar & Gluten Free.

Jeanne’s Tres Leche Cake over at Four Chickens.

Jill’s Monkey Bread over at Hey, that taste’s good! (she’s not kidding, that tastes GOOD!)

Funny Oranges

After I got the Breville Citrus Press and started making fresh squeezed orange juice each morning, I found myself knee deep in orange peels.  Instead of throwing them all away, I wondered if I could use some of them for a fun lunchbox treat.  I remembered seeing a recipe for Gelatin Oranges on Disney’s Family Fun website so I thought I would give it a try.  If you or your child has a beef allergy (gelatin), avoid artificial colorings, etc., keep reading…  this gets much better! 😉

These are relatively easy to make (and super easy if you have the Breville Citrus Press to do the juicing work for you!).

Funny Oranges

  • Just slice oranges in half and scoop out the fruit. Be sure to scrape well and remove all the orange pulp, you will want the inside of the orange to be white.
  • To keep the oranges upright, I used a muffin pan to set the oranges in.
  • Prepare gelatin (or substitute, see below) as indicated on the package.
  • Pour gelatin into the prepared orange halves and refrigerate until set.
  • Slice Orange halves and you will have a fun little treat for snacks or to stick in a lunchbox!

The juicer only does so much, I still had to peel the last bit of orange "stuff" out by hand.

Prop the hollowed out oranges in a muffin pan for support.

Pour prepared gelatin into orange halves.

After reading a few of the comments for the Easy Lunchbox Giveaway, I decided to send in tacos for a cool new lunch. Wish I had re-read the comments before I made them as I would have known NOT to assemble the taco the night before! They were pretty soggy come lunch time the next day, LOL! I always seem to learn the hard way. 😉 If you make a taco lunch, be sure to seperate all the components and let your child assemble their own taco at lunch time... this is "much cooler" anyway as they have their own taco bar!

So there’s that version.

I have been doing a lot of reading over the past few months on artificial colorings, dyes, preservatives, etc. and I’m now of the mind that “less is definitely more!”  Just yesterday, I was reading an article in the May/June 2010 issue of Well Being Journal titled, “ADHD Increase Linked to Modern Diet,” by Jane Hersey, pages 16 – 17.  In the article, Jane sited some research by Sanford C. Newmark, M.D., from the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine:

Research has shown a consistent relationship to the intake of artificial colors and/or preservatives on the symptoms of ADHD or hyperactivity.

After describing two large British studies linking food dyes and preservatives with hyperactivity, including one that was published in the Lancet, he concluded,

One can see how the intake of these substances could ‘shift’ in a positive direction the proportion of children diagnosed with ADHD.

The article went on to credit the late Ben Feingold, M.D. for first discovering the link between artificial food additives and hyperactivity.  I just read an article on the Feingold Association website pertaining to ezcema and ADD.  Seems that children with excema are far more likely to develop ADD (Wow, I didn’t know that.  I really encourage you to check out the Feingold Association website, there is some very interesting information on it, that only further demonstrates the negative effects of processed food on our health).  Funny, I had ezcema as a child and was diagnosed with Adult ADD about a year ago.  Luke also suffers from severe ezcema (worse than mine was as a child).  Hmmm…

Another startling fact that was mentioned in the article was the dramatic increase in American consumption of artificial dyes.  Consumption of these dyes has increased almost threefold since the 1980’s, rising from about 6.4  million pounds in 1985 to more than 17.8 million pounds in 2005!!

Last quote from the article that I want to mention, and I think it is very important that all parents think about this:

Newmark pointed out that since more and more families have two working parents, family meals increasingly consist of processed (additive-laden) foods.  “It is hard to know just when a Pop-Tart became an acceptable breakfast, but it often is.  School lunches are abysmal, with an unacceptably high intake of processed foods and [denatured] saturated fats.”

I just looked at my boys after reading the article and thought to myself, “They deserve better.  They have their entire lives ahead of them and I do not want to burden them with health problems (ironically, the very ones I have!), that I can control by simple diet modification.”  That’s right, I am the one who can potentially alter the course of their life and health by taking the time to think about what I am putting into their mouths.  While we already have the benefit of being a gluten-free family (which means we cannot eat most processed foods like Pop-Tarts, but there are obviously still many products like Jello and Koolaid that we can technically have, but probably shouldn’t!).

Needless to say, the rest of my Jello stash went into the trash, as did my remaining Koolaid stash (okay, I’ll admit it…  I was actually the closeted Koolaid drinker! 😉 ).

I have been experimenting with making my own “jello” from natural juice and pectin (the grape turned out to be a kickin’ Grape Jelly without added sugar or HFCS, but it really didn’t taste like Jello.  I have yet to try juice with gelatin, but I have that one on my short list.  I did however, find a really cool new product (new to me anyway) on a recent shopping excursion to my local co-op: Natural Desserts by the NutraDrink Company!!  Check this out from their website:

Natural Desserts’ line of flavored and unflavored Dessert Jels are a truly unique line of gluten free, vegan, dairy free, Kosher dessert jells that are truly indistinguishable from gelatin, yet are manufactured using an exclusive blend of vegetable gums.  Perfect as a simple dessert all by itself, or marvelous for use in the most elaborate mold.

They even have pudding!!  I have yet to find the pudding in my local store, but I am definitely on the hunt. 😀

So, I re-made the oranges with the All-Natural Strawberry flavored Jel Dessert:

This product is still high in sugar, so moderation is key.

We really liked these quite a bit, even though Sam is still hung up on the green Jello. Wonder if I could make a spinach/apple combo juice and just add the unflavored Jel for a natural and healthy green color?? He might disown me... but it's worth a try! 😀

Update: At the suggestion of Deanna, I just submitted this recipe to the May “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” monthly recipe roundup (it’s a Jello theme for May), being hosted by Mrs. Ed’s Research and Recipes.  This is my first time participating in this monthly event and I am so happy that Deanna mentioned it to me, because it introduced me to a new blog that I am excited to read.  Anyone can participate in this blog carnival, you do not need to be a blogger to join in on the fun!  The “Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten-Free” blog carnival was created by Naomi Devlin over at “Straight Into Bed Cakefree and Dried.”  What a fun way to make cooking at home an even more rewarding experience.  It’s like sitting at the kitchen table, swapping gluten-free recipes and the stories behind them, with great friends over a hot cup of coffee.  🙂

Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels

Yesterday, my shipment of Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels arrived!  There has been quite a bit of buzz around this new product since the announcement was made in March on Food Biz Daily, so the second I heard they were available for sale on GlutenFree.com, I had to order some.  Sam used to love the Pretzel Flipz back in his gluten days so I decided to wait and let him be the one to open the package and be the first sampler.

Now, Sam is only 6 so his taste-testing and critiquing skills are still rather limited, as is his database of descriptive words, so keep that in mind with his review (it’s a short one, LOL!).

Sam: GLUUUU-TEN, yeah, yeah, gluten!

Translation: The Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels taste just as good as the Pretzel Flipz in Sam’s memory!

Click the following links for ingredient and nutritional information: Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels and Glutino Yogurt Covered Pretzels.

My review: the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt covered pretzels ARE good, however, they are kind of pricey after you add in the shipping costs.  I ordered one 5.5-ounce package of each flavor from GlutenFree.com, each retailing for $5.99.  After adding in the $12.00 shipping cost, each package essentially cost $12.00.  I cannot wrap my brain around that, no matter how good they are.  I would definitely buy these again, but I will wait until they are available in local stores.  Until then, I will just keep making my own (with Glutino’s GF pretzels of course!).  There is an added benefit to making my own too…  I have to make them in order to eat them, so there is a built in “self-control” mechanism going on.  When the Glutino Chocolate and Yogurt Covered Pretzels hit my local store shelves, I might be in trouble in the waistline department! 🙂

These are my homemade version of Glutino Chocolate Covered Pretzels... they are certainly not as pretty and I do not have a Yogurt version! I do have white chocolate though, hmm... 😉

Tribe All-Natural Hummus

On a recent trip to Costco, I found a package of Tribe Hummus Snacker Packs and I thought they would be great for tossing into the boy’s Easy Lunchboxes (a great “prepackaged” 100-calorie pack! Just toss in some carrots or other raw veggies and there you have it! 😉 ).  A box of 16 individual snack packs cost just under $6.00!  I read the ingredient label and could noticed that there were no gluten containing ingredients but the gluten-free label that used to be on packages of Tribe Hummus had vanished from the package.  I went ahead and bought it but decided to contact the company to inquire about the GF status before I presumed it was okay.  The simple removal of a gluten-free label that was once on a package can easily make one believe that the product is no longer safe to consume.

I emailed Tribe and received the following reply:

March 30, 2010

Hello Heidi,

Thank you for your interest in Tribe products.
Just wanted to let you know regarding your question,
“all” our hummus flavors are “Gluten Free.” Hope this
eases your mind.

I am sending you some money saving coupons toward your
next purchase. Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Peg Volpe

Consumer Affairs Specialist
p.volpe@tribehummus.com
TRIBE MEDITERRANEAN FOODS, INC.
774-961-0000

A week or so after I received the email confirming that Tribe Hummus is still gluten-free, I received a letter and coupons (thank you Tribe!) further explaining why the gluten-free label is no longer on their packaging:

In case you have trouble reading the letter:

June 5th, 2009

To Our Valued Customers,

We recently removed the phrase “gluten free” from our packaging.” Our marketing department continually revises the claims and information on our packaging to keep with current trends and to provide our customers with the information we feel is most pertinent.

Nothing has changed in Tribes process or ingredients; hummus is inherently a gluten-free food, and Tribe will continue testing to ensure such.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Jesse Norris, Quality Control Manager

Tribe Mediterranean Food Inc.

774-961-0000 x 117

j.norris@tribehummus.com

They must not have known that gluten-free foods would be one of the hottest trends of 2010! In fact, it was rated as #3 back in January by The Daily Beast.

Is it just me (assuming you have been at this for awhile too), or did we just become part of the “cool kids?” 😀

If You Are A Parent, Grandparent, Auntie, Uncle, Teacher, Doctor, Friend… PLEASE Watch This

Canyon Bakehouse Review and Giveaway!

Recently, I was the lucky recipient of some complimentary gluten-free bread products from Canyon Bakehouse, a dedicated gluten-free facility in Loveland, Colorado. All I can say is… YUM!

Funny story; the day the Canyon Bakehouse products arrived, I placed them on the counter and waited patiently until Mike and the boys got home from work/school before I tore into them. The very second Sam saw the loaves of bread, he said, “MOM! Why is there “gluten” here?” Taken aback, I asked what he was talking about (because we have a dedicated GF house). He pointed to the Canyon Bakehouse packaging and I got it, they DO look like packages of “real wheat bread,” LOL!  If you have been reading my blog for long, then you know how packaging and appearance are a VERY BIG DEAL to Sam right now, so score 1 for Canyon Bakehouse!

A little information on Canyon Bakehouse:

At Canyon Bakehouse, we believe making healthy choices shouldn’t mean compromising on the quality of the foods we love. More and more people are deciding to go “gluten free.” For people with celiac disease, avoiding gluten is a medical necessity. For others, it is simply a choice for their health and well-being. Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads have been specifically created to bring back the joy of real bread to those following a gluten-free diet. We think you’ll find Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free Bread has all the texture and taste of normal bread!

I received a letter with my package of samples that goes into further detail about how Canyon Bakehouse came to be, and here are a few highlights:

Canyon Bakehouse is owned by husband and wife, Josh and Christi Skow and Master Baker, Ed Miknevicius.

Christi was diagnosed with celiac disease 3 years ago through a routine physical. She had been anemic, tired and had skin issues for years for unknown reasons. After being diagnosed, she had a difficult time transitioning to a 100% gluten-free diet. There were few choices for gluten-free bread on the market and what was available was very expensive and did not taste good.

Christi’s husband, Josh and Master Baker, Ed came up with the idea for their products in 2009 as they were sitting in a small Colorado Cafe near the Flat Top Wilderness area discussing the lack of good tasting and healthy gluten-free breads. At that point, Ed set out to create gluten-free bakery products that tasted good, were healthy and had the same texture as regular bread. The mission of Canyon Bakehouse was born, to “create delicious and nutritious gluten-free products the whole family can enjoy.”

All three of the sliced breads are great, but there was something in particular about the San Juan 7-Grain bread that really stood out to me… it looks and smells like whole wheat bread! I couldn’t help but just sit there with my nose in the bag, taking in an aroma that I had long forgot. It was a beautiful moment indeed. The bread also has that deep caramel color reminiscent of wheat bread and I was excited to try something that I had been wanting to try but never had a dark enough GF bread to do it with… Sandwich Puzzles!

Sam has really enjoyed these, just use a cookie cutter (that is supposed to be a baseball and bat in the above photo), to cut the same shape out of contrasting colored bread and switch! I made up a bunch one afternoon and filled with PB & J, bagged them up in a freezer bag and packing Sam's lunchbox was easy peasy! Score 2 for Canyon Bakehouse!

Can't you just smell it?? 😉

1 slice of the San Juan 7-Grain bread has only 90 calories, 1 gram of fat, 2 grams of Fiber and just 2 grams of Sugar!! So a sandwich with 2 slices of bread has 4 grams of fiber... score 3!

Click here for more detailed information on the San Juan 7-Grain bread.

Mountain White Bread

Click here for more detailed info on the Mountain White bread.

I recently cracked on my store-bought tomato boycott.... the good thing though, they are really not all that great, so I can definitely wait until the local tomatoes are in season! 🙂

Cinnamon Raisin Bread.

Click here for more detailed info on the Cinnamon Raisin bread.

The Cinnamon Raisin Bread was another favorite around here. You do not need to toast any of the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free breads but I like Cinnamon Raisin Toast for breakfast on occasion. I did notice that the Canyon Bakehouse breads toast up differently from the crispy toast I am accustomed to, it toasts up well on the outside, but stays soft on the inside. An interesting contrast of textures, but yummy nonetheless!

Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia

The Focaccia was incredibly moist with a pronounced Rosemary flavor and I absolutely love Rosemary! The Focaccia bread is thicker than what I am used to, so a little goes a long way! I do wish I had put mine in the freezer right away though (it’s a lot of bread for 2.5 people), because the moist Focaccia did succumb to decay rather quickly (which technically speaking is a GOOD thing, because it means NO CHEMICAL PRESERVATIVES!), just keep that in mind and learn from my mistake. 😉

Click here for more detailed info on the Rosemary & Thyme Focaccia bread.

Now for my personal favorite of all the products we sampled (and this was surprising to me), the Cranberry Crunch Muffins!

I cannot recall having ever seen a more beautiful muffin in my life! It was almost too pretty to eat (but boy did I eat them)! The Cranberry Crunch Muffins were honestly the product I was least excited to try because I do not like baked goods with nuts, seeds, etc., it’s a texture thing carried over from childhood.

The Cranberry Crunch Muffins have Cranberries, Pumpkin Seeds, Whole Grain Millet and Poppy Seeds in them, see why I was worried? Well, those worries were completely unfounded because I loved, loved, LOVED the muffins!! The crunch was a delightful surprise and not “too much,” if you know what I mean. Either my taste buds are really evolving as I have been trying new foods or the folks at Canyon Bakehouse have found the perfect ratio of crunch to fluffy muffin… not too much, not too little! Another score for Canyon Bakehouse!

Click here for more detailed info on the Cranberry Crunch Muffins.

Sigh… I miss these.

Would you like to try a sampling of the Canyon Bakehouse gluten-free baked goods?? Well, here is your chance to do so for free! The kind folks at Canyon Bakehouse have offered up the exact same package that they sent to me; to giveaway to one of my lucky readers!

The winner will receive one of each: Mountain White, San Juan 7-Grain, and Cinnamon Raisin sliced bread, a package of the Focaccia and a package of the Cranberry Crunch Muffins!

To enter this giveaway, please leave a comment in the reply box about:

“In which stores do you prefer to buy your gluten-free products?”

I personally shop all over the place, Online, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sunflower Market, R. Down Nutrition Center, my local Co-Op and Smith’s. Wow… that is a lot of driving! 🙂 I dream of a day when there is a Healthy Gluten-Free Super Center! 😉

How about you? Do you stick with one place or shop at several stores?

For Bonus entries:

  • For 2 bonus entries: Tweet about this giveaway and include a link back to this post. Be sure to also include @adventuresgfmom in your tweet so I know that you have done this.

I will use a Random Number Generator to pick the winner on Friday, April 23, 2010.

Good Luck! 😀